Old School F1 Smorgasbord Coming to Australia
Motorsport on Island Australia appears to be coming out of the pandemic with a bang, with some heavy metal from around the world set to converge Downunder at the start of 2023.
With international borders opening up and the cost of freight coming down, three significant events are set to see multiple pieces of interest once again tour south.
Getting the ball rolling will be the 34th Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport on March 11th to 13th, followed the next weekend by the Rob Roy Revival (March 17th to 19th), with the Adelaide Motorsport Festival set to see the streets of the Adelaide Parklands come alive once more from March 25th to 26th, as the prime lead in to the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park (March 30th to April 2nd).
Always a star at Phillip Island and the Adelaide Festival are the appearances of the various old-school Formula 1 cars, with 2023 shaping up to be mega.
Local open-wheel stalwart Rohan Carrig has revealed in the Formula Holden Facebook Group that numerous classic F1 cars are set to make the trip to the Island, namely a Lotus 81 (Steve Brooks), a Hesketh 308 (James Hagan), a Shadow DN8 (Jamie Constable), a Surtees TS16 (Marc Devis), an Ensign N179 (Paul Tattersall) and a Tyrrell 012 (Ian Simmonds), which are slated to join the Historic Groups Q & R races.
This group has been expanding its scope in recent years to take on board a growing number of Formula Holden machines, joining examples from rulesets such as F5000 and Formula Pacific, alongside many.
Here at The Race Torque, we have taken a deep dive behind the covers of two of the regular F1 attendees at the meet, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’s pair of 1985 Ferrari 156/85s, plus Ian Ross’s Lola THL1-F1 from the same year.
The above-mentioned 2023 imports were driven in the period by some of the biggest names in the sport, including Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Alan Jones, James Hunt, Ricardo Patrese, Michele Alboreto, Danny Sullivan, Martin Brundle, Stefan Johansson, Elio de Angelis, Jackie Oliver, Hans Stuck, Clay Regazzoni, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, John Watson, Derek Daily, and Stefan Bellof, amongst others.
Over the years, the Phillip Island Classic has attracted many fantastic entries from around the globe, including significant museum pieces from the world’s leading manufacturers.
One memorable entry came from the Porsche factory, when Jim Richards was entrusted with a Sunoco Porsche 917/30 in 2007, the car which killed the legendary Can-Am series, with its staggering 1,600HP on tap.
The Rob Roy Revival, meanwhile, will see a major return to the revamped hillclimb to the north of Melbourne, with the 87-year-old venue having experienced a significant reworking over the past 12 months.
With a real Goodwood feel, attendees are encouraged to dress in their best vintage fashion from the 50s and 60s, with the blast up the hill likely to draw some alternate machinery from those seen at the Island.
The meet will celebrate the Elfin marque, and the legacy of its founder Garrie Cooper, while John Bowe has been named event patron.
While the Adelaide 500 made a triumphant return the other week, the Adelaide Motorsport Festival is set to be a major attraction on the calendar.
Drawing on the significant stock of South Australian-based classic metal, the combination of the earlier Victorian meets with the attraction of the Adelaide streets, together with the Grand Prix returning to these shores, is set to produce a bumper entry from here and abroad.
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